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A Shudder and a Giggle

Patricia Sullivan

We write a lot of obits here, but the endless variety of people's lives still give us a giggle (and sometimes a shudder).

For example, here's a guy you wouldn't want to run into if you were in a dark alley carrying goods of uncertain origin. Chopper Howard was a Philly cop, and "He got his nickname because he sometimes carried a Thompson submachine gun on the job."

Ashley Morris, a passionate advocate for New Orleans who possessed the mind of a computer geek and the soul of a rabble-rouser (nice turn of phrase by the Times-Picayune's John Pope), loved his city so much that he commuted from Chicago to N.O. each week (Can't imagine the traffic problems on that commute). At the first post-Katrina Krewe de Vieux parade, he dressed as a French mime in convict stripes and white face makeup, and appealed to the French president: "Buy us back, Chirac!"

Ever been to an ethnic wedding and joined in the making-a-fool-of-yourself festivities? Bob Kames, credited with creating the modern version of the Chicken Dance, has died. "This stupid little thing, it's infectious," Kames said in 1995. "It has only two chords, it doesn't even change for the bridge. It implants the melody in people's minds - it just sticks in there. That's gotta be the secret. IIt just keeps on going. People come up to me at jobs and tell me how happy it makes them. You get a song like this once in a lifetime."

By Patricia Sullivan |  April 10, 2008; 11:30 AM ET  | Category:  Patricia Sullivan
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Fascinating stuff, as usual, Patricia. And thanks for your obit on Mary Burns, the White House phone operator. Attention must be paid to anyone who could stand up to LBJ! I also see the Metro section has a story today on the death of one of the few working phone booths left in the DC area. When the last one is gone, will there be an obit in the Post? And how will you track down surviving relatives??
Sam Litzinger

Posted by: Sam Litzinger | April 14, 2008 10:29 AM

Dear Ms. Sullivan and Ms. Tucker,
Many thanks for Patricia Sullivan's informative obituary on Mildred Loving, and the corresponding appreciation by Neely Tucker, which enhanced her remarkable life story.
"I feel free," said Mrs. Loving.
Truly free for only 40 years out of 68.
Wow.
And what was at stake?
The ultimate right to self-determination, assured to us by the U. S. Constitution, but flawed in application.
Just ordinary people trying to live responsible lives, taking care of each other and their children.
Now they belong to the ages and we should never forget them.
And we won't, thanks in part to both of your well-written articles about her.

Posted by: Judy in TX | May 6, 2008 3:58 PM

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